'WipEout Omega Collection' Review: Sony's classic racing series holds up beautifully
Here's the thing about cars: They're totally bogus. Wheels that can be bogged down by different types of terrain are so last century. We need to ditch them as soon as possible so we can zoom down rollercoaster highways while blasting The Prodigy like the cyberpunk hooligans we were destined to be.
WipEout Omega Collection Review: Futuristic arcade racing at its finest
If you were a Nintendo kid like me during the late 1990s, think of WipEout as the PlayStation equivalent of F-Zero. Though WipEout did make a couple of brief stops on the Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64, it was most closely aligned with the PlayStation brand before Sony closed series developer Studio Liverpool in 2012. It's been dead ever since.
WipEout Omega Collection may not be a full revival of the series, but it showcases why it deserves one. It's an assemblage of all the tracks from WipEout HD, that game's "Fury" expansion pack and WipEout 2048, with all of it given a spit-shine for the PS4. It even runs in 4K on PS4 Pro, if you have one of those.
Everything in this collection is gorgeous. You can tell these assets originally came from the PS3 and Vita if you stop and stare, but when you're hauling ass down the game's winding futuristic roads at 60 frames per second, it doesn't matter. Between the old-fashioned paved roads of 2048 or the white, pristine courses of HD, the art style and lighting hold up tremendously well.
While F-Zero is a convenient introductory comparison, WipEout plays very differently from Nintendo's long dead racing franchise. It isn't quite as fast, but it has weapon pickups, a la Mario Kart. However, it doesn't obviously dole out weapons based on your position in a race, so it's more about skill than luck.
All of the single player content from the original releases of these games is intact. It's fairly standard racing game stuff, as you'll work through races, time trials, speed laps and more with the speed and difficulty increasing in later challenges. On the multiplayer side of things, it supports split-screen, as well as eight-player online play, with all of the modes listed above. I haven't had a chance to try the online play, but I look forward to giving it a go when the game is released.
The only thing that's mildly peculiar about WipEout Omega Collection is that the heads-up display changes depending on which track you're playing. 2048 tracks will use the HUD from 2048, while the tracks from HD work the same way. It makes sense for vehicle selection and handling to remain intact from the original games, but it's a little jarring at first when your car's energy meter moves around the screen depending on the track.
WipEout Omega Collection isn't going to change the world, but it's much better than Sony continuing to let the series gather dust in the attic. The buttery smooth handling model and solid track design make it a good competitive racer, with and without weapons. It launches on June 6 on PS4 for $40.
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